« 上一页继续 »
stated that, on the late Marquis of Hastings being asked why he scratched The Earl for the Derby, answered, “Because I chose !” By the way, a correspondent of this Magazine, when of course complacently quoting something written by himself as immensely telling, half hints a doubt as to a fact given in some other sketch which he did not write. Would he be good enough to put this a little more clearly, in order that he may be in turn the more directly corrected or contradicted ?
The Earl, at this writing, is advertised for sale by Messrs. Tattersall, by private contract.
THE ENGLISH RACEHORSE OF THE PRESENT DAY.
BY R. P.
( Concluded.) There is another point of view also, from which the Eastern blood must be considered to have proved its claims to a more just and dispassionate estimate; one recognised anew in more recent times, and justifying still the opinion announced by Charles Cavendish Duke of Newcastle, in the latter part of the 17th century, of those valuable qualities which pre-eminently distinguish it. *
Previous to the experience acquired in the Crimean campaign, it had become generally believed in France, as it is still maintained by many professed judges in England, that the crossing of indigenous breeds and races with the English thorough-bred or pur-sang was, and is the most infallible means of obtaining first class-subjects, combining beauty and distinction in the forms, with conditions of energy and of temperament very superior to the primitive or Eastern races themselves. But experience of a kind more crucially trying than this opinion had
a hitherto been tested by, proved in the course of that campaign that it was not founded upon grounds so infallible as believed ; and that, as regarded the superiority thereby imparted to many western breeds for appropriation to special services, the improved conditions of speed and beauty of form were very often obtained wilhout a corresponding gain in that strength and power of protracted endurance, which in the primitive Eastern races are genetically co-existent, and transferred in those races, together with the fleetness and external distinction of form. As illustrative of this, letters received in France from the Crimea, during the disastrous winter which so fearfully decimated the horses of our own British Cavalry Regiments, rendered no better account of the horses purchased in England to complete the cadres of the Frencb Dragoon Regiment, and of their Artillery and Train ; nor of Their French-bred products by crosses with English thorough-breds and demi-sang of the Government breeding-studs.
We append the following excerpts from two of these letters, which, for their brevity and the conciseness with which they presented from
* The Duke's opinion, both as a breeder and experienced cavalier, in the civil-wars, and in the manége, will be found cited at p. 448 of the December, 1867, number of the Sporting Magazine, in the paper entitled, “ The Equine Resources of Russia.”
the spot the actual state of things, and the convictions so forced upon their writers, are worthy of note:
Camp de Sébastopol, Janvier 28, 1855. " Les chevaux barbes sont les seuls qui résistent bien aux épreuves du climat et de la nourriture !
“ Il est démontré aujournd’hue dans l'armée que nous avons sons les murs de Sébastopol que les seuls chevaux qui aient parfaitement résisté à tontes les misères de la situation sont les chevaux de sang primetif. Tous ceux appertenant aux races améliorées on perfectionnées, comme on le voudra, les chevaux anglais entête ont succombé." And at a shortly subsequent date, another writer says :-
“ Camp de Sébastopol, Janvier 30. "Nos excellents chevaux d'Afrique résistent au froid, comme à l'inégalité et à l'insuffisance de la ration. Ceux des Dragons et ceux d'artillerie s'en vout grand train !"
As these observations formed part subject of reports rendered and forwarded to the Ministry of War, their authority is too incontestible to admit of doubt as to their veracity.
But so long as mankind shall utilise the equine race for their wants, or for the gratification of their pleasures, according as these may vary with the habits and tastes of the age, there will be the same constant diversity of opinions enounced in regard to the superiority of the breeds produced by ihe art of man over the primitive races, without the aid of which they could not have produced them, as there is in regard of the individual qualities of the horse, or of horses. That so much disaccord should be found on this subject, one in respect of which persons are every day to be met with, whose pretensions to a knowledge of horses are assumed, on grounds which, at first sight, might reasonably be deemed incontestible, is nevertheless an incontestible evidence that, in like manner as for the acquirement of a science, for that of a true knowledge of the horse a talent is requisite, which it is not given to everybody to acquire; for it is a knowledge that rests neither upon mathematical data, nor on the mere teaching of the external forms. Two good judges will even yet still constantly differ in opinion in some details of their judgment, according to their own peculiar manner of seeing, and of the notion or ideal they have made, or muke to themselves of the animal-type. If it is thus with good judges, how much more divergent must not be the opinions of a great number of the half informed, and of those who have little or no judgment of the matter!
Hence, it will be readily obvious to those whose notions are not empirical merely, how difficult it is to seize at first sight the special qualities of horses, and to class them off-hand in the category best suited to them, and that the most conscientious exercise of judgment will always leave more or less room for observation, according to the special ideas, or, indeed, the oft-times more arbitrary idiosyncracies of the judges.
If this is so frequently the case in the isolated appreciation of the qualities of one or more horses of a breed with which we are familiar, how much wider the field in which to err in the appreciation of the special qualities of races, which is based most frequently in the present day upon no better personal knowledge nor authority than the hearsay of the writers, who reiterate only such opinions as bolster up the national self-love of the mass with comparisons, in which all the various circumstances on which comparisons can alone be fairly instituted are dissimilar in toto !
But the supremacy of facts, and the logical evidence of their result, which (but that the world knows better) might be supposed of our own modern-hippo-cultural development, are too eloquent of a higher appreciative faculty in our predcessors to be disdainfully put out of court. That the noblemen and spirited landed-gentry who founded our "highbred racers'* could by any other better means than those they adopted, and resorted to for nearly a century, have achieved the signal success that crowned their foresight, discerning judgment, and perseverance has never yet been shown by any of the through-thick-and-thin panegyrists of the super-eminence of the thorough-breds of the present day, who as little have explained the laws by which, in the ordinary course of Nature, instead of becoming etiolated, they should have attained to so high a standard of permanent equine perfection, that any resort to a reinfusion of the blood that formed their ancestral stock would prejudice their excellence as a now constituted indelible race, beyond all improvement.
As little also—as may be inferred from the opinions of some competent judges, both deceased and living, comprising, not only several who were sedulous breeders, but who are so still, as also several enlightened authorities on the continent-does the system of racing which now obtains, and most of its ramifications, demonstrate by the sordid abuses of the powers of our racers, from their earliest age of promise to that which was wont to be considered their best and most admirable maturity, that we are as regardful as were their founders of the worldold recognition of those indications of physical fitness wbich, despite all the generally observed parity in their periods, vary in horses as in men, according to climate, food, temperament, health, and other circumstances too numerous to detail, but which acknowledge no subserviency to this or “next year's grass."
We offer to our readers no excuse for the digressions into which we have been led in the course of this discussion, for our purpose was, a
and is a good one—and the subject, one of which we rather sought in these pages to prompt the ventilation by abler pens than to assume ourselves its elucidation. Sincerity of desire to contribute towards its suggestion as a subject for earnest and unbiassed consideration-in view of the incontestible axiom recognized by all enlightened hippiasis, that a race or breed of horses exhibits indubitable indications of a tendency to degeneracy when the majority show a decline in fitness for the particular
purpose for which they are bred-must plead for any frankness in the expression of the sentiments we have enounced.
That they might be in disaccord with the opinions of those who can admit of no defect in anything of English growth, developed by the usage and custom of the age they live in, and with the notions, views, and habits of those whose interests are wholly merged in the existing order of things connected with the Turf, were not sufficient reason for the exclusion of our hope and faith in those better instincts of a consi
* Such was the distinctive denomination by which in the last century they were called, and which still, at the beginning of the present one, expressed in more truthful accord with fact what is now presumed to be more emphatically expressed by the term
thorough-bred ;” though the bars sinister, traceable in very many of the genealogies in the “ Stud-book,” go far to discredit the validity of its force.
derable portion of our countrymen, which prompt them to look beyond the present merely, and to consider subjects of national interest from higher stand-points of reason, which above the atmosphere of the prejudices and sordid misuses of the time, reveal the infallible operation of those natural laws that admit of no protracted disregard and violation without their retributive penalty.
That the founders of the English race-horse had no greater advantages in respect of monetary means of acquisition, and those of access to the sources whence to derive the material for their formation, than we have in the present day for the material to restore those joint qualities of stamina and speed, which are now with us more frequently the exception than the rule, requires as little demonstration as to show that, the purchase prices of a yearling-St. Ronan, Angus, and others so numerous as would be tedious to name-would have left a balance of from £300 to £500 in their purchasers' pockets, after defraying all the costs of journey and voyage out and home, expenses of transport to England, and purchase-money of one of the finest, purest, and highest-priced Kehhellan Arabs bred by the tribes inhabiting the Desert En-Bassora and Bagdad.
But those sagacious founders of our renowned breed of coursers, from the close of the reign of Charles II., throughout the whole of the ensuing eighteenth century, had, on the other hand, many immeasurable advantages in their favour. The Turf, a comparatively new and rising institution, had not yet become a mere mercenary pursuit. Its representatives and constituent supporters, noble and gentle-born, were still imbued with a lofty sense of those principles of thought and action which the motto of their class, " noblesse oblige,” inculcated.
They were loyally interested by a natural and generous love of the horse, in the coursers of their own creation ; and in such a rational development, use, and conservation of their powers as would best tend to promote and secure the permanent establishment of the stock sedulously improved by reiterated importations of Barb and Arabian blood. It was by husbanding the growing-strength of their young horses, and by shunning all precipitation in calling upon their immatured physical and moral faculties that they best prepared them to render at a later and more competent period those greater and more enduring services, by which so many became unsurpassed and remark. able in our racing annals. The rivalry of their breeders and owners was one of honourable emulation. The stimulants thereto nothing beyond the Royal Plate or self-contributed Stakes and the pride of having bred the winner. They had found, and had before them, as it were, a tabula-rasa, on which no stolid prejudices, no vulgar and mercenary passions crowded forward to obstruct, or turn to their own account the debasement of a generous sport. In a word, the popular element of a modern civilization, uncultured at root and core, had not yet food-like overborne the principles of integrity and good faith that still graced the hippic-games of England. Would that it could be said of the English Turf, as the Roman citizen said of Rome :
Moribus antiquis stat Roma. [The English racehorse, with fair-play, is probably far better than ever he was ; and any apparent decline is attributable almost entirely to his being put so early into work.-Editor. ]
A FISHING EXCURSION IN THE LOWLANDS OF
(Continued.) “St. John's College was founded by Lady Margaret, Countess of Ricbmond and Derby, mother of Henry VII., upon the site of the Hospital of St. Jolin. Its establishment was delayed for some timo from the rapacity of Henry VIII., who seized upon the lands of the foundress on her decease ; but was eventually compelled by a decree from the Pope to restore them. The building was commenced in 1511, and the first court completed in about four years. This court has the chapel on the north, and the hall on the west. The entrance to the master's lodge is at the corner between these buildings. The length is 228 feet, and its breadth 216 feet. Fisher, bishop of Rochester, was a great benefactor to the college at its foundation. The second court was built by afbenefaction from Mary, Countess of Shrewsbury, about the year 1599. Its length is 270 feet, and its breadth 240 fcet. The third court is small, and was built by subscription in the reign of Charles II.
A A very striking and exceedingly pretty object is the covered bridge over the Cam, which connects this part of the college with the new court. It is built in the style of the Bridge of Sighs at Venice. This bridge has on each side barred Gothic openings or archways.
“ The new court is by far the noblest portion of the college, and almost of the whole University. Its length is 480 feet, width 180 feet, and height to the top of the lantern 120 feet. A cloister runs along its front. The front is very beautiful, and extremely light." The building is remarkably well situated in the midst of meadows and tall trees.
“ The library is on the north side in the third court, and is about 150 feet long. It is of venerable appearance, and possesses a valuable collection of bibles, psalters, and the fathers. The chapel has been lately repaired, and is separated into two parts by the organ gallery. It is 120 feet long, and 27 feet broad. It contains several good monuments of benefactors and masters. The altar has a pain ing of Christ after the descent from the cross. The hall is lofty, and 60 feet long, by 30 feet wide. The windows are light, and the wainscoting is rich in carved work and gilding,
The society has a master, 60 fellows, and 114 scholars. Forty-six benefices and six grammar schools are in its patronage. Visitor, the Bishop of Ely.
Trinity College is the school from which have proceeded some of the most eminent men of our country. Here Newton passed a great portion of his life. Here also were educated the Earl of Essex (“Elizabeth's Essex”), Sir Edward Coke, Bacon, Donne the poet, Cotton the antiquary, George Herbert, Cowley the poet, Dr. Isaac Barrow, Andrew Marvell, Nathaniel Lee, John Dryden, Roger Cotes (of whom Newton said, “ Had he lived, we might have known something"),